As more and more people are becoming part of the mobile workforce and using laptop or tablet PC’s battery life is often a primary concern. Today’s portable computers use lithium-ion batteries instead of older style nickel-cadmium power sources. In addition to being able to hold a greater charge, lithium is also very light weight, another important concern for portable computers.
When you are purchasing your computer investigate if a long-life battery is available. While it will add to the cost it can give up to double the usage of a normal battery. To get the most usage out of your battery you’ll need to understand a little bit about how batteries work. Each battery has a limited number of charge cycles. If your battery lasts for 4 hours and on the first day you use it for 2 hours and then recharge it fully and the next day you use it for 2 hours again and then fully recharge it again, you will have completed one charge cycle. Each battery has a limited number of charge cycles before it starts losing it’s the charge it can hold.
If you aren’t using your wireless connection to connect to the internet or network turn off the wireless connection it will extend the life of your battery. The same holds true for Bluetooth connections. Another way to extend your battery life is to lower the brightness of your monitor. Lastly bear in mind that using your portable computer to play a DVD movie uses more power than using a spreadsheet.
If you find that you are often using the computer with the battery at full charge while connected to the main power supply you may want to remove the battery. Keeping the battery fully charged while it’s at a high temperature, which is typical of conditions of a laptop that is always plugged into the main power supply, will dramatically shorten its lifespan. Discharging the battery regularly is also conducive to long battery life. Under optimal conditions laptop batteries will last 24 to 36 months, under less than optimal conditions you may shorten the lifespan down to 12 to 18 months.
To help keep your battery operating at optimal conditions try to fully discharge it once a month. Many people find it helpful to set a calendar reminder so they don’t forget. If you find your battery lasts less than 60 minutes, try fully discharging it several days in a row. Just leave your computer on overnight with no applications running. Be sure to turn off any alarm or lower power warnings that are associated with your power settings. If this fails to work you will need to replace the battery.
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